Army and War Vets clash over candidates as battle for Zanu PF control escalates

Matemadanda and Mutsvangwa

HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s adviser, Chris Mutsvangwa and Zanu PF political commissar, Engelbert Rugeje reportedly clashed and exchanged harsh words at the party’s headquarters on Monday over alleged bias and imposition in the selection of candidates ahead of the party’s primary elections this weekend.

By Tatenda Chitagu

Party insiders said the two clashed after Rugeje approved Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister, Webster Shamu’s wife, Constance, to contest the Norton seat against Mutsvangwa.

Mutsvangwa yesterday initially denied ever meeting Rugeje at the party headquarters, but later said they met to “resolve the issue amicably”.

“Those are lies. How can I do that to the national political commissar?

“We are good friends and we have been together for a long time.

“There were just issues over Norton constituency, which we solved amicably,” he said.

“Shamu wanted to impose his wife in Norton constituency when she does not come from there.

“He wanted to spite me. I told Rugeje and we solved the issue and had a handshake. Rugeje simply dropped Shamu’s wife. People are mischievous, that is a lie.”

Rugeje’s phone went unanswered when sought for comment.

But Zanu PF insiders, who witnessed the clash, said Mutsvangwa dared Rugeje over candidate selection, accusing him of letting G40 members contest at the expense of Mnangagwa’s loyalists.

“Mutsvangwa told Rugeje that he was the worst political commissar that the party has ever had and Rugeje was not amused and they nearly traded blows, before they all cooled down and people present restrained them,” a source, who was present during the meeting, said.

“Mutsvangwa threatened to hold a Press conference denouncing Rugeje and the whole process, saying whoever made him the political commissar would fire him if he continued to defy Mutsvangwa. – News Day